West Ham close in on first European trophy since 1965 after Pablo Fornals helps down AZ in Conference League semi-final second leg

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Fornals West Ham Conference League 2022-23
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Pablo Fornals' stoppage time goal sealed West Ham's passage into the Europa Conference League final, after they saw off AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.
  • West Ham extend 2-1 first leg lead
  • Fornals clinches win
  • Hammers can win first European trophy in 58 years

TELL ME MORE: Lucas Paqueta almost extended the West Ham one-goal advantage from the first leg after 25 minutes, but hit the post after Michail Antonio fed it onto the Brazilian's driving run. AZ dominated most of the game, but didn't truly test Alponse Areola until the second half, when the Hammers dug deep to defend – before finally putting away the tie 3-1 on aggregate through Fornals' composed finish late on.

The game finished amid chaotic and ugly scenes after some fans caused trouble after the final whistle, perturbed by the West Ham celebrations on the pitch.

THE MVP: West Ham centre-backs Kurt Zouma and Aguerd were colossal – although both men survived close VAR checks for possible penalties – as the visitors came under more and more pressure as the game went on. Zouma has been a rock this season for David Moyes' side and so it proved once more.

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THE BIG LOSER: Sweden international Jesper Karlsson wasted some inviting openings up front for AZ, with the Dutch side ruing some profiligate play in the final third that ultimately cost them a spot in the final.


AZ West Ham

AZ fans West Ham 2022-23

Tomas Soucek West Ham AZ 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Fiorentina await in the final, with the Viola triumphing in dramatic fashion in their semi-final.